In this section you will find key policy
and reform relating to primary languages and education. Use these
pages for policy summaries and to access guidance
about integrating recommendations and
requirements with your approaches to teaching and
As a result of the entitlement, languages have already taken on
a new importance in primary schools. This can be expected to
In 2004, Lord Dearing recommended that
languages become a compulsory subject in Key Stage 2 when the
primary curriculum is next reviewed. Dearing's recommendation was
accepted and a full scale independent review of the primary
curriculum was held in 2008-2009, led by Sir Jim Rose.
Ministers announced on 7 June 2010 that the current government
does not intend to proceed with Sir Jim
Rose's proposed new primary curriculum but that plans for
reforming the national curriculum are underway.
In August 2010, the Government has issued a
statement updating on the status of the primary curriculum and
primary languages, including outlining plans up to March 2011.
Read the statement.
The ‘Bigger Picture’
'Every child should have the
opportunity, throughout Key Stage 2, to study a foreign language
and develop their interest in the culture of other nations. They
should have access to high quality teaching and learning
opportunities, making use of native speakers and e-learning.'
National Languages Strategy
The Key Stage 2 entitlement
An entitlement to learning a foreign language
in Key Stage 2 is the cornerstone of the National Languages
Strategy for England, ‘Languages for All: Languages for Life’
(DfES, 2002). By 2009/2010, all pupils in Key Stage 2 will be
entitled to study a language in class time and to reach a
recognised level of competence on the
The Key Stage 2 Framework for
languages sets out the non-statutory guidelines for
primary languages teaching and learning. It provides a national
frame of reference for the entitlement and a common language for us
to discuss primary languages, built around five interrelated
strands: Oracy, Literacy, Intercultural Understanding, Knowledge
About Language and Language Learning Strategies.
You can find examples of how to
teach with the Framework in the Training
zone. The Framework has been available to schools since 2005
published new schemes of work for German, French and Spanish to
address its objectives. Download these resources
from QCDA schemes of work.
The primary experience
Primary languages are one part of the primary
experience, shaped by wider education and children’s policy.
Every Child Matters is a government agenda to ensure the wellbeing
of all children.
Its five outcomes are
- be healthy
- stay safe
- enjoy and achieve
- make a positive contribution
- achieve economic wellbeing
These play an important role in the overall
primary school ethos.
The Excellence and enjoyment strategy also
describes creative approaches which can underpin all primary
pedagogy, focusing on raising attainment by ‘making learning fun’.
Following from this strategy, particular guidance for teaching
bilingual children has also been produced.
Communities and the global dimension
Primary languages create natural opportunities
to integrate initiatives promoting diversity and community cohesion
which impact across the whole school. The Education and Inspections
Act (2006) placed a new duty on schools to promote community
cohesion and as of September 2008, schools are being inspected
on their work to fulfil it.
Establishing international links and school
partnerships and teaching the Framework’s intercultural strand are
some ways in which this can be achieved. The global dimension in
primary languages also addresses key recommendations of the
Diversity and Citizenship Curriculum Review and the government’s
international strategy for education, ‘Putting the world into world